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Mtn Nyege Nyege Festival Wins Best Overal Tourism Event of the Year 2018 at the Ekkula Pearl of Tourism Awards

Posted On : April 1, 2019

Oscar Alochi


Since its inception in 2015, Nyege Nyege International Music Festival has never diverted from its mission: To shine light on East Africa’s growing pool of artistic talents and to make Uganda the host of the most exciting music festival on the planet. In 2018 it attracted over 3,000 tourists, making Uganda the premier music travel destination on the continent.

Life time experience at Nyege Nyege Village 

Featured on every major music publication in the world, including the The Guardian, CNN, BBC, Rolling Stone and The Economist, Nyege Nyege is now a global phenomenon. And to top it off last Friday at the Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards it was recognized as the “Best Overall Tourism Event in Uganda 2018”.

Together with the Government of Uganda, it has promised to leverage this prestigious award and grow the festival industry to attract more positive press and visitors to Uganda. Tourism relies on competitive advantages, and while Uganda is on par with other regional players when it comes to Nature and Wildlife, it is the hospitality of its people and the diversity and richness of its culture that will set it apart in the future.

The organizers have dedicated their award to the late Ambassador Julius Onen, who hosted the festival at Nile Discovery Beach since its inception. Ambassador Onen was a very fervent supporter of the festival and of culture in general, and he will be greatly missed. The organizers have promised to continue to fulfil his vision of a prosperous Uganda known for its culture, beauty and hospitality.

Audience enjoying live music performed by local bands 

The city of Jinja and the community of Njeru have greatly benefited from the festival. Since it became MTN Nyege Nyege in 2017 the festival has grown to nearly 10,000 attendees and this has brought a tremendous boost in the local economy. From casual workers to hotel owners, from rolex sellers to restaurant owners, artists, crafts sellers, cab drivers and other local entrepreneurs, everyone benefits from MTN Nyege Nyege.

During the festival alone over 250 vendors reported profits from the festival. The festival has made a commitment to contribute to host community of the festival, and year on year people have shared amazing stories of how they were able to buy a plot of land or send their kids to university after the festival, every single hotel is fully booked during the festival and the city of Jinja has witnessed a twenty fold increase in business during the time of the festival.

Interaction at Nyege Nyege festival 

A music festival is synonymous with peace, hospitality, culture and fun, and by becoming a globally recognized festival, Uganda is now constantly associated with all those positive elements in the international press, which directly affects the image of Uganda and the amount of visiting tourists. Many festival attendees elect to spend more time in Uganda, visiting national parks, and staying in beautiful lodges.

After receiving the award, Talent Africa’s CEO Aly Allibhai has vowed to continue to use his resources as the premier event management & production company in the country, to support the vision of the Nyege Nyege founders, and continue to strive to make this the best festival in the world.

Talent Africa’s CEO Aly Allibhai at the Middle 

The festival has also announced that it would work more closely with the Ugandan Government in order to communicate better on its purpose and avoid any confusion with regards to false statements that have tried to bring the event down last year.

The Festival believes that it needs to work together with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to guarantee a quality experience for all foreign visitors as well as Ugandan and East African audiences.


Since its inception the festival has pushed for more regional tourism, and last year alone it attracted over 800 Kenyans and 300 Rwandese, many of whom had never come to Uganda in the past. Regional weekend getaways are becoming a trend in regional tourism, but most people tend to go to the coast of Tanzania or Kenya.

MTN Nyege Nyege wants to reverse this trend and encourage people across the region to visit Uganda more often.

Promoting art and culture  

This year MTN Nyege Nyege is partnering with European, American, Asian and African tour operators in order to reach out to new markets. Requests have poured in from artists all over the continent to attend, and by continuing to propose a Pan African line up, the festival directly advertises in new African countries.

Last year, under the MTN Pulse program, MTN invited 20 Ghanian taste makers to Uganda to experience the festival, as a result the festival expects an influx of Ghanian visitors.

By promoting traditional music and other cultural practices from the four corners of Uganda, the festival is able to highlight the cultural diversity of Uganda, something unique to the Pearl of Africa.

It creates pride amongst Uganda that cuts across tribal differences and promotes unity through diversity.

African Music

MTN Nyege Nyege is also at the forefront of national tourism, by introducing camping culture to Ugandan audiences (1500 Ugandans camped at the last edition) it opens up a whole new market to budget travellers, and encourages Ugandans to visit Uganda!

According to recent studies, Music Festival tourism is the fastest growing segment of the global tourism industry, doubling over the last 3 years to a 4 billion dollar industry. Facts show that more people travel further to gain new experiences and attend music festivals, Nyege Nyege intends to bring a bigger chunk of that market to Uganda.

The dates for the 2019 edition of MTN Nyege Nyege will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Tickets are expected to go on sale from the beginning of May.

Live performance 

To celebrate the Ekkula Tourism Award, MTN Nyege Nyege Festival will throw a celebratory party on April 19ththemed with a Full Moon party experience at the View Kampala located above Hotel Diplomat in Tank Hill, Muyenga.

About Nyege Nyege Music Festival 

MTN Nyege Nyege International Music Festival was started in 2015 by the Boutiq Electroniq collective, namely Kampire Bahana, Arlen Dilsizian, Derrick Debru and Darlyne Komukama.

In 2016 it joined forces with Talent Africa and its state of the art event management & production expertise lead by event guru Aly Allibhai, creating a festival production dream team.

On the back of the reputation of Talent Africa, Nyege Nyege was able to attract initial sponsorship from Brussels Airlines and Bell lager, and in 2018 MTN signed a 3 year title sponsorship agreement to give the festival an additional opportunity to grow.

The festival is part of a larger talent incubation project that includes community studios in Bunga open to young talents, access to production infrastructure, training in production and music software as well as DJing and recording of traditional troupes to encourage cultural preservation. The music produced is made available on two internationally acclaimed labels, namely Nyege Nyege tapes and Hakuna Kulala.

Finally, Nyege Nyege represents 20+ Ugandan and East African artists around the world, creating substantial income through their performances.

DJ Kampire will make her US debut as the closing act of the New York Red Bull Music Festival on May 16th.

Content courtesy of Talent Africa Group & Nairobi fashion hub

Oscar Alochi


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